String Quartet No. 3

Commissioned by Chamber Music America with generous funding provided by the Mellon Foundation

Year
2018
Duration
22 minutes

While traveling in Algeria, my host, Rostom invited a few of his friends who lived nearby in Beni Isguen, the gateway to the vast Sahara. At one point, one of his friends said to me almost casually, “You are lucky to travel. We are prisoners here. We can’t go anywhere.” This was a striking and sobering moment and a reminder that many, many people around the world either do not have the means or are simply unable to leave their country of birth even if they desperately wanted to. Rostom and his friends proceeded to describe in detail for me the perils of leaving Algeria for Europe—how difficult the crossing of the Mediterranean is, and so on. The first movement has a nervous energy. The second movement is a short lullaby: perhaps hope that those who want a new to place to live may find a peaceful place to sleep. Finally, after a short dream-like intermezzo, the last movement, Prisoners, is a simple but stern movement, and often the voices in the quartet struggle to break free from one another.

Premiered by the Attacca Quartet in September 2019

Category
Chamber Works
Instrumentation
view Other

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